Saturday, November 18, 2023

Who should be inducted next into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

After the Nov. 3 induction ceremony for the 2023 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, attention has now turned to which artists will be or should be nominated for the 2024 class.
The 2023 class featured 13 artists and music industry professionals. Of those, seven were in the performer category. However, the 2023 class included 10 headlining acts in total. They were Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, The Spinners, Chaka Khan, DJ Kool Herc and Link Wray.
Those inductees put just a small dent in the Rock Hall’s ridiculously long backlog of deserving artists waiting to be enshrined. (Check out Future Rock Legends for the full list.)
This year’s nominees were revealed on Feb. 1 and the inductees were announced on May 3.
Here are my personal picks of artists that I’d like to see get nominated next year:
  • Joy Division/New Order
  • Phil Collins
  • Billy Idol
  • INXS
  • The Pointer Sisters
  • Sade
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Mariah Carey
  • The Smiths
  • Thin Lizzy
  • Scorpions
  • Smashing Pumpkins
  • Siouxsie & the Banshees
  • Foreigner
  • Gloria Estefan
Photos: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio (Credit: Tony Fischer via Creative Commons); and Rock Hall 2023 inductees (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

The end of movies on disc is nigh

Netflix ending its DVD-by-mail service last month was just the latest sign that movies on physical media are going away. And with it goes consumer ownership of physical copies of their favorite movies and TV series.
Going forward, consumers will be left to the whims of streaming video services to decide which movies to carry. Or they’ll be forced to pay for a digital rental or purchase of a movie title, if it’s even available.
Last week, director Christopher Nolan encouraged movie fans to buy a copy of his film “Oppenheimer” on Blu-ray Disc “so no evil streaming service can come steal it from you.” (See articles by Variety and IndieWire.)
In addition to Netflix getting out of the DVD business, there have been other signs that the medium has reached its end game.
Retailer Best Buy plans to phase out sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs both in-store and online in early 2024. It wants to use that space for other merchandise. (See articles by Variety and Media Play News.) Other retailers like Walmart and Target also are cutting back on their DVD offerings.
Also, Ingram Entertainment, a leading DVD distributor, announced that it is winding down operations after more than 35 years in business.
The DVD market has been waning for years as consumers have switched to streaming video services for entertainment. But the decline has accelerated recently.
Media pundits have noted that many movies and TV series that were released on DVD are now difficult or impossible to find in any digital format. And that’s a shame for the movie fans and culture as a whole.

Related articles:

Why the Dying DVD Business Could Be Headed for a Resurrection (The Hollywood Reporter; Nov. 10, 2023)

‘Crossroads,’ Britney Spears and the Journey to Watch a DVD in 2023 (New York Times; Oct. 18, 2023)

Where’s the Love? — Is Hollywood Abandoning Disc, Once its Golden Goose, Too Fast? (Media Play News; Sept. 25, 2023)

The DVD’s Demise Leaves Many Films Gone With the Wind (Wall Street Journal; April 27, 2023)

For movie lovers, there’s a darker side to Netflix ending DVD rentals (Washington Post; April 21, 2023)

Photo: DVD collection (Dave Campbell via Creative Commons)

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Netflix destroyed most of its DVD collection

Netflix officially shut down its business last month after collecting the last of its discs by mail on Oct. 27. So what happened to the thousands of movies and TV series on disc in its collection?
“As we’ve done over the last 25 years, we’ll be recycling the majority of our DVDs through third-party companies that specialize in recycling digital and electronic media,” a Netflix spokesperson said. “We’re also donating a portion of our inventory to organizations focused on film and media.”
Those organizations included the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the USC Cinematic Arts Library. But those colleges didn’t get many discs.
“We were offered some DVDs from Netflix but most were duplicates of what we already owned so we selected about 50 of them for our collection,” Steve Hanson, associate professor and head of the Cinematic Arts Library said.
The DVDs it got from Netflix were a “mixed bag” ranging from comedy, drama and horror to international. Some titles included “Baby Driver,” “Living,” “Monsters University,” “Mother!,” “Overlord” and “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
Jeremy Schug, senior director of communications and digital strategy, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, said Tisch received a small selection of DVDs as a donation. He didn’t have any details on titles or genres.
“We understand that the majority of Netflix’s DVD inventory was recycled,” Schug said.
DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and CDs can be recycled for their polycarbonate plastic. Recycling firms shred the discs and use specialized equipment to remove the ink, lacquer and reflective metal layers to get the polycarbonate resin, which can be sold to make new items.
In the third quarter, its last quarter of operation, Netflix’s DVD-by-mail business generated $22 million in revenue, down 37% year over year. Netflix announced the coming end of its DVD business last April.

Related article:

Ted Sarandos Lauds Netflix’s Final DVD Rental Shipment (Media Play News; Sept. 29, 2023)

Photos: Netflix billboard and goodbye message to customers (Netflix)

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

There’s a Letterboxd for that. Movie website Letterboxd has spawned a host of copycats.

A website or online service isn’t truly a phenomenon until it spawns a multitude of copycats.
Take Letterboxd, the popular movie website. Letterboxd describes itself as “a global social network for grass-roots film discussion and discovery.”
Letterboxd users share their opinions on movies they’ve seen, create lists and collections of films, and find and follow fellow movie lovers. The website launched in October 2011. And earlier this month, Canadian investment firm Tiny bought a majority stake in Letterboxd. (See articles by Variety and the New York Times.)
Others have taken notice of the success Letterboxd has had and have launched similar websites for other interests.
A quick search of Google shows a host of copycats. There’s a Letterboxd for video games (Backloggd), TV shows (Serialzd), anime (AniList) and music (Musicboard). There’s even a Letterboxed for beer (Untappd).
I’m sure there are many more similar websites out there.
One of the limitations of Letterboxd is that it doesn’t cover TV series or miniseries. That’s limiting in a world where the lines between movies and TV shows are blurring. Letterboxd has plans to add TV content at some point.
Ironically, Letterboxd says it’s been called “Goodreads for movies.” Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. bought Goodreads in March 2013.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

X, aka Twitter, accounts fighting the woke movement

The woke movement and the backlash to it have been a major story in American politics. Progressive liberals have been promoting special rights and considerations for certain groups of sensitive individuals, demanding changes to society and even language to accommodate them.
Woke groups advocate for biological males, aka trans women, to play in women’s sports. They are promoting gender affirmation surgery, aka sex change operations, for juveniles. They are pushing pornographic books to school kids and say efforts to stop them amount to book banning. They also are bringing school kids to provocative drag queen shows.
They have pushed climate change hysteria and policies that are soft on crime, weak on immigration and voter fraud. They espouse socialist ideals while ignoring the overwhelmingly negative consequences of socialism worldwide. They also are pushing for separate spaces for racial minority groups in schools, ironically bringing back segregation. The list goes on and on.
These groups do not believe in free speech. They try to prevent opposing views through violent protests, shouting at speakers and claiming a “hate speech” exemption to the First Amendment when there is none.
Thankfully, “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk has allowed anti-woke speakers to have a forum on X, formerly Twitter. Woke speakers are on the platform too, but at least there is a balance and a conversation.
Some of the most interesting and entertaining anti-woke accounts are The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee), End Wokeness (@EndWokeness), Wokely Correct Comics (@WokelyCorrect), Defiant L’s (@DefiantLs) and Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath).
High-profile anti-woke pundits and commentators on X include Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly), James Woods (@RealJamesWoods), Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog), Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok), Chaya Raichik (@ChayaRaichik10), John Stossel (@JohnStossel), Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) and Eva Vlaardingerbroek (@EvaVlaar).
Those are just a few of the people fighting the good fight.

Photos: Defiant L’s and Wokely Correct Comics.

Sexy Halloween costumes in 2023 to be dominated by ‘Barbie’

America leads the world in sexy Halloween costumes. U-S-A! U-S-A!
This year, the hit movie “Barbie” is influencing a lot of Halloween costumes for adults. A check of the Halloween costumes on shows a lot of outfits inspired by the movie, which is based on Mattel’s doll family.
For the ladies, there’s the “Genuine Doll Costume,” “Retro Rollerblade Doll Costume” and “Western Star Costume.” Barbie is trademarked, hence the clever use of the word “doll.”
For men wanting to dress up as Ken, there is the “Mr. Malibu Costume,” “Men’s Retro Rollerblade Stud Costume” and “Men’s Mojo Dojo Faux Fur Coat.”
And for those weirdos who want to dress as Ken’s friend Allan, you’re on your own.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Shirley Temple movies are missing or hard to find online

I took an interest in child actress Shirley Temple recently after receiving an antique doll in her likeness. Despite being a movie fan, I had never seen any of her movies.
Fortunately, before Netflix’s DVD service ended last month, I rented two of her movies “Wee Willie Winkie” (1937) and “The Little Princess” (1939). The DVD service had listed 10 of her movies in its inventory.
Temple appeared in 44 feature-length motion pictures from 1932 through 1949, according to Wikipedia. Of those, 13 are not available in any form online, either from streaming services or for digital rental or purchase, according to JustWatch and Reelgood.
Also, 19 of the Shirley Temple movies are only available for digital rental or purchase.
The remaining 12 movies are available for streaming from mostly smaller subscription video services such as Indieflix and Flixfling.
She also made numerous short films, including a series of Baby Burlesks. I don’t know the status of their availability.

Photo: Movie poster for “The Little Princess” (1939).